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Portables Hardware

Dell Shows Off Its Eee PC Rival 250

Tom Moreland tips us to photos of Dell's answer to the Eee PC on the Direct2Dell site. Dell posted these after an attendee at the D conference spotted Michael Dell carrying one. The company hasn't released any details, so you can take these with a grain of salt — from a commenter to Dell's post: "Here are the specs for the Dell Mini Inspiron: Atom 1.6 GHz, 3 USB ports, Ethernet, Card reader, Kensington lock, Adapter socket, Mic/line-out, VGA port, screen resolution at 1280×800. Scheduled to be released before the end of June 2008. It costs less than $500."
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Dell Shows Off Its Eee PC Rival

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  • Dimensions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LotsOfPhil ( 982823 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:53AM (#23600567)
    Given that this is being compared to the EEE, physical dimensions are important. Guessing based on the pencil in the pictures, this looks like it is maybe 8" x 5" (20 cm x 12 cm).
  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:56AM (#23600613) Journal
    There are models for 300 bucks and they think that they will sell well at $500?

    It may have some potential. Having a good cheap system to surf with is definitely a good idea. But for $500 you can get a regular fully functional laptop in many instances.

    Dell's going to be competing with their own price points no matter where they put this product in the spectrum from 3-500$ they'll be cannibalizing their own market.
  • by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:02PM (#23600723) Homepage Journal

    Well considering that "small-size" used to be a high-priced premium, I think that a small but cheap laptop is probably the better choice for the mobile individual. The 300$ models you speak of are usually 15.4" models and those aren't exactly small or lightweight.

  • by Zoole ( 1276372 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:09PM (#23600823)
    What with them already offering it on some systems, I'm betting on Ubuntu. Purely out of curiosity, I wonder if they're planning on doing something with the UMPC version of Ubuntu that Canonical is supposedly working on...
  • by westbake ( 1275576 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:21PM (#23600997) Homepage

    Some of these specs, like the 1280x800 resolution screen look beyond the M$ limits for such devices []. Good for Dell, they know what the market really looks like [].

  • Ubuntu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trenchbroom ( 1080559 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:33PM (#23601159)
    Well this explains why Mark Shuttleworth has confirmed that Ubuntu is coming out with a version for UMPCs. Dell needs a linux distro to compete on the low end against Asus and the rest.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:34PM (#23601173) Homepage Journal

    I disagree. Most modern web pages need at least 1024 pixels wide. You can always make things bigger if a certain app hurts your eyes, but you can never get back resolution that the panel doesn't have. Thus, it is always better to go with a higher resolution than a lower one.

    I'm really surprised, however, that nobody has criticized the fact that all these machines use legacy VGA. I mean, is it really too much to ask for them to use DVI? It already costs more money to buy a panel that still supports VGA even today. VGA is on its way out and the only computers I see that still use it are cheap PC laptops. Why!?! Why would anyone build a computer with only analog video output these days? It's not like it is that much more expensive to provide DVI, and I consider any machine that doesn't do so to be very non-future-proof, i.e. a dubious proposition.

    These days, the only thing keeping me from buying any of the ultra-mobile machines is the lack of DVI in any machine with a small enough footprint to safely use on an airplane tray table. Netcraft confirmed VGA was dying five years ago. At this point, the only thing left to do is go through its pockets and look for loose change....

  • but can it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainNerdCave ( 982411 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:02PM (#23601615)
    first off, i do own an eeepc with a 4gb hdd and no camera

    can this new dell fit in my jacket pocket? by far, the most excellent thing about the eee pc is that it is so incredibly portable without making significant sacrifices. furthermore, with 4gb of space, there are many choices for an os.

    my hands aren't small, but i can manage to touch-type reasonably well on it. frankly, i don't think anyone should be alloted any credence when complaining about the keyboard size on such a small system. it's much like griping about the lack of luggage-space on a motorcycle. if your major complaints are about the keyboard, you must not be the target market.

    my only complaints are about the cpu, which seems to be underclocked to 630mhz, and the difficulty in booting from an sd card (i'm sure i'll figure it out).

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:12PM (#23601767) Homepage
    Digital released the Microvax II which had, if memory serves me, virtually the same performance as a full-sized VAX at about a third or a quarter of the price. More to the point, it was significantly better than the VAX-11/750, better as in double the performance, for about half the price. Killed all the older lines dead, instantly.

    Wang released the Wang 1200 WPS, its CRT-based word processing system, at a time when their previous non-CRT-based offering was still selling well. Killed the older line dead, instantly.

    Apple released the iPod Nano about eighteen months after the introduction of the iPod Mini line, and barely six months after a major refresh of the iPod Mini line, killing the minis dead instantly.

    (And, for the record, the Digital and Wang examples occurred during the upward trajectories of those companies and were major, major successes for them).

    Companies don't have to put the customers' interests ahead of their own, but they need to put a high priority on it. Companies that concentrate too much on what's good for them instead of what's good for their customers... rationalizing product lines, avoiding cannibalization, holding back new features, and generally not producing the best products they know how to produce (e.g. IBM foot-dragging on the 80386) get in trouble. Their locked-in customers may go along for a while, but customers aren't stupid and they'll be steaming about it, and delighted to give the company its comeuppance.
  • Dell EEE PC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whtmarker ( 1060730 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:21PM (#23601919) Homepage
    No matter what features the EEE has, it was designed to be low cost. Any competitor must also be low cost. $500 is not cheap for a laptop these days.

    Why does dell need to make an EEE competitor when it ALREADY HAS a $399 laptop you can buy today. The Dell Vostro 1000 [] has an AMD Sempron 3600+, XP Home, 15.4 inch Wide Screen, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, CD Burner, 802.11g Wifi, and 256MB integrated video.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:54PM (#23602095)
    Agreed vehemently, most of these lightweight laptops have horrible keyboards, which is sad as it's the main interface to the device. It should be a criminal offence to shorten keys such as Backspace, Return and Spacebar and to a lesser extent Shift.

    Nowadays I don't even care what OS/whatever these machines have, it's more how good the keyboard and the touchpad is (especially the stiffness of the touchpad buttons, I know doubletap drivers work for most OS'es but sometimes they don't register).

    Why is it that manufacturers always toss out ergonomics first when it comes to cost reduction?
  • by dextromulous ( 627459 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:03PM (#23602173) Homepage
    At least in Linux I can move the dialog boxes by alt+dragging anywhere on the window. If there is a Windows equivalent of this I would love to know about it!
  • Re:Forget Dell (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gewalt ( 1200451 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:05PM (#23602193)

    I suppose they could make a smaller Air, but, err, why?
    Because I don't know a single person that is even slightly interested in a MBA, but I know lots of people who would be interested in a macbook nano.

    Your comment is similar to the naysayers that said apple would never enter the micro-mp3 player segment, cause they liked the other market segment better. Not only did they enter that market segment, but their initial foray into it was at a higher price and a fatter profit margin, and they still managed to dominate it. I believe they can do the same with small laptops.
  • No wifi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:07PM (#23602209) Journal
    The specs list ethernet, but no mention of wifi? If it doesn't have built-in wifi, I don't see how it can compete with the Eee PC
  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Friday May 30, 2008 @05:13PM (#23604585) Homepage
    ...where are mini laptops with trackpoint instead of (too small) touchpad?!

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's